Happy Holiday Weekend to all my American friends, and Miserable Monday to the rest of you! I need to pick some quilters' brains today. I'd like to hear from anyone who has either taken or taught a quilting class for beginners.
My local Bernina dealer, (whom I adore because their customer service is awesome and they are always there for me to keep my sewbabies purring smoothly), has approached me about teaching a class at their shop for true beginners who have never quilted before. I've never taught a sewing or quilting class before and I taught myself to quilt from books, so I'm trying to find out how much can be covered in a single all-day Saturday class.
This is the project I came up with:
It's 37" x 37", and my goal was to create a project that was simple enough for beginners to complete fairly quickly, before getting discouraged and giving up. I also wanted to cover all of the basics:
|Beginner Class Sample Top, 37" x 37"|
- Choosing fabrics, thread, and needles; pros and cons of prewashing, benefits of quilt shop cottons vs "bargain" fabric from chain stores
- Basic equipment and supplies
- Rotary cutting: straightening and folding the fabric, cutting strips and squares, using rulers correctly
- 1/4" seam, relationship between cutting habits and seam allowance, why this matters, and different feet and methods for achieving accuracy
- Matching seam intersections
- Sashing that doesn't ripple
- Borders that lay flat and square
- Choosing backing fabric and batting
- Layering and pin basting
- Machine quilting with a walking foot
- straight grain binding with mitered corners, machine stitched to front of quilt and slip stitched to the back
- Basic quilt label
|Sewing On Sashing with 97D foot|
The 37" x 37" size is perfect for a small stroller or car seat baby blanket, or for a wall hanging using seasonal novelty prints for Halloween, Christmas, etc.
|Cars and Buses Version|
|Holiday Favorites Version|
|Tula Pink Tabby Road Version|
The large 9" blocks are great for showing off large scale novelty prints. Once the newbie quilters have completed this project, they will be ready to move on to other projects with confidence -- from other classes, books and magazines, Block of the Month, etc. And that's what intrigues me about this teaching opportunity -- the chance to share something I love with other people, to equip new quilters with the basic skills they need to be successful. When someone emails me and comments on my blog that something I wrote about helped them to be successful with their own projects or encouraged them to try something new, that absolutely makes my day.
SO... Here's my question for all of you, especially for any of you who have previously taken beginner classes or who have taught beginner students: Is it unrealistic to try to teach this entire project in a single day? I was able to put the quilt top together in two evenings, but it's still not quilted and I didn't have to stop and explain anything along the way. I did have to stop and dance around when my favorite songs came on the radio, though...
But seriously -- after finishing the sample quilt top, I'm thinking the class should end with the addition of the borders and completion of the quilt top. Newbie students are going to ask questions. They are going to make mistakes, and that's great -- I want to have time to stop and show them how to FIX those mistakes. I don't want to overwhelm the students by dumping too much information on them at once and rushing through the class, and if I DO teach the quilting and binding, I want to do it in a follow up class so that anyone who falls behind has a chance to finish their top and participate in the quilting part. It's really important to me that every student is able to be successful and feel good about their project.
What do you all think? Does anyone have any tips or suggestions about teaching quilting classes in general? My dealer suggested a maximum of six students for the beginner class, by the way. I deliberately avoided triangles because there are so many different ways to cut and sew them, the bias edges can be tricky, and I wanted the students to be able to make an actual quilt (albeit a small one!) rather than just a placemat or something. Anyway, as always, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Have a great week, everyone, and Happy Stitching! I'm linking up with: